Help support New Advent and get the full contents of this website as an instant download. Includes the Catholic Encyclopedia, Church Fathers, Summa, Bible and more all for only $19.99...
One of the thirteen original United States of America, lies between 39° 43' and 42° 15' N. latitude, and between the Delaware River on the east, and the eastern boundary of Ohio on the meridian 80° 36' W. longitude. It is 176 miles wide from north to south and about 303 miles long from east to west, containing 45,215 square miles, of which 230 are covered by water. It has a shore line on Lake Erie 45 miles in length, and is bounded by New York on the north, New Jersey on the east, Ohio and West Virginia on the west, Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia on the south. It is the only one of the thirteen original states having no sea coast. About one-third of the state is occupied by parallel ranges and valleys. The mountains average from 1000 to 2000 feet in height. The main ridge, highest on the east, is broken by the north and west branches of the Susquehanna River, which flows through the centre of the state. The Delaware, which is 400 miles in total length, beginning from its origin in Otsego Lake, New York, is navigable for a distance of 130 miles from the sea, and forms the eastern boundary of the state. In the west, the Allegheny and Monongahela unite to form the Ohio. There is a wide range of climate within the geographical limits of the state.
Although Captain John Smith, in 1608, was the first white man to meet natives of Pennsylvania, which he did when he ascended Chesapeake Bay, he never set foot within the limits of the present state. Henry Hudson, on 28 August, 1609, came within the Delaware Capes, but went no farther towards Pennsylvania. The first white man actually to enter the State appears to have been a Frenchman who came from Canada, Etienne Brullé, a companion of Champlain. He explored the valley of the Susquehanna from New York to Maryland in the winter of 1615-16, as is described by Champlain in an account of his voyages. In June, 1610, Captain Samuel Argall, coming from Virginia in search of provisions, entered the Delaware River and gave it its name in honour of the then Governor of Virginia, Lord de la Warr. Captain Cornelius Mey came to the Delaware Capes in 1614 (see NEW JERSEY). Another Dutch captain, Cornelius Hendrickson, came from Manhattan Island and probably navigated the Delaware River as far as the site of Philadelphia in 1616. In 1631, David Pietersen de Vries established a post at Lewes, in Delaware, and later, in 1634, made voyages as far as Tinicum Island and Ridley Creek. For five years after this the Dutch traded on the Delaware River and in 1633 established a post called Fort Beverstrede near Philadelphia. The English Government laid claim to the entire region in 1632 on the ground of first discovery, occupation, and possession, but in April, 1638, an expedition made up partly of Swedes and partly of Dutch, under Peter Minuit, established a post at Fort Christiana on the Brandywine River. This was the first white settlement in the country of the Delaware made by the Swedish Government, and was against the protest of the Dutch Governor of Manhattan. It was but a small colony and lasted only seventeen years. In 1643-44 permanent settlements were made at Tinicum, and in 1651 the Dutch Governor, Peter Stuyvesant, caused Fort Casimer to be built on the present site of New Castle, Delaware, to overawe the Swedes at Christiana. Fort Casimer was occupied by the Swedes in 1654, but they were in their turn driven out by the Dutch, who remained in possession of the Delaware River country until the organization of Penn's colony in 1681.
When William Penn was thirty-six years old, in 1680, his father being dead, there was due him from the Crown the sum of £16,000 for services rendered by his father, Admiral Penn. This was cancelled in 1681 by a gift to him from the Crown of the largest tract of territory that had ever been given in America to a single individual, and in addition he received from the Duke of York all of the territory now included in the State of Delaware, for the sake of controlling the free navigation of the river of that name. This charter, or grant, gave him the title in fee-simple to over 40,000 square miles of territory with the power of adopting any form of government, providing the majority of the colonists consented, and if the freemen could not assemble Penn had the right to make laws without their consent. The new colony was named Pennsylvania. Penn wished the name to be New Wales, or else Sylvania, modestly endeavouring to avoid the special honour implied by prefixing his surname but the king insisted. It has been said, no doubt truthfully, that Penn was impelled by two principal motives in founding the colony: "The desire to found a free commonwealth on liberal and humane principles, and the desire to provide a safe home for persecuted Friends. He was strongly devoted to his religious faith, and warmly attached to those who professed it, but not the less was he an idealist in politics, and a generous and hopeful believer in the average goodness of his fellow men" (Jenkins, "Pennsylvania", I, 204). Penn himself, speaking of the grant by the king, says: "I eyed the Lord in obtaining it, and more was I drawn inward to look to Him, and to owe it to His hand and power than to any other way. I have so obtained it and desire to keep it that I may not be unworthy of His love and do that which may answer His kind providence and serve His truth and people, that an example may be set to the nations. There may be room there but not here for such an holy experiment" (Jenkins, "Pennsylvania", I, 207). He had already shown ability as a colonizer, being concerned in the settlement of New Jersey, where the towns of Salem and Burlington had been laid out before the charter of Pennsylvania was granted.
During practically all of the colonial period, Penn and his descendants governed Pennsylvania through agents or deputy governors. He was the feudal lord of the land, it being his plan to sell tracts from time to time, reserving a small quit-rent or selling outright. Until the American Revolution, in 1776, Penn and his sons held the proprietorship of the Province of Pennsylvania during a period of ninety-four years, excepting only about two years under William III. The colony was organized at the council held at Upland, 3 August, 1681, the deputy governor being William Markham, a cousin of Penn. When Penn himself landed, 28 October, 1682, at New Castle, Philadelphia had been laid out and a few houses had been built. After his landing Penn changed the name of Upland to Chester in honour of the English city. There he summoned the freeholders to meet, and they adopted the "Frame of Government" and ratified "The Laws agreed upon in England". The former instrument provided for a Provincial Council of seventy-two members to be elected by the people. This council was to propose laws to be submitted for the approval of the General Assembly, also to be elected by the people. Thus was formed the first Constitution of Pennsylvania. The laws accepted and re-enacted with many additions became known as "The Great Law". It establishes religious liberty, allowing freedom of worship to all who acknowledge one God, and provides that all members of the Assembly, as well as those who voted for them, should be such as believed Jesus Christ to be the Son of God, the Saviour of the World. The Great Law prohibits swearing, cursing, drunkenness, health-drinking, card-playing, scolding, and lying in conversation. In the preface to the "Frame of Government" may be found the key to Penn's fundamental views on political questions. Thus he wrote: "Governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments; let men be good, and the government cannot be bad; if it be ill they will cure it. Though good laws do well, good men do better; for good laws may want [i.e. lack] good men and be abolished or evaded by ill men; but good men will never want good laws nor suffer ill ones. That, therefore, which makes a good constitution must keep it, viz. men of wisdom and virtue; qualities that, because they descend not with worldly inheritance, must be carefully propagated by a virtuous education of youth. For liberty without obedience is confusion, and obedience without liberty is slavery."
Penn was far in advance of his time in his views of the capacity of mankind for democratic government, and equally so in his broad-minded toleration of differences of religious belief. Indeed, it has been well said that the declaration of his final charter of privileges of 1701 was not alone "intended as the fundamental law of the Province and declaration of religious liberty on the broadest character and about which there could be no doubt or uncertainty. It is a declaration not of toleration but of religious equality and brought within its protection all who professed one Almighty God, Roman Catholics, and Protestants, Unitarians, Trinitarians, Christians, Jews, and Mohammedans, and excluded only Atheists and Polytheists." At that time in no American colony did anything approaching to toleration exist. When the provisions of "The Great Law" were submitted to the Privy Council of England for approval they were not allowed; but in 1706 a new law concerning liberty of conscience was passed, whereby religious liberty was restricted to Trinitarian Christians, and when the Constitution of 1776 was adopted, liberty of conscience and worship were extended even further by the declaration that "no human authority can in any case whatever control or interfere with the rights of conscience." It has been said: "There never was in Pennsylvania during the colonial period, to our knowledge, any molestation or interruption of the liberty of Jews, Deists or Unitarians, . . . while the Frame of Government of 1701 . . . guaranteed liberty of conscience to all who confessed and acknowledged 'one Almighty God, the Creator, Upholder and Ruler of the World', and made eligible for office all who believed in 'Jesus Christ the Saviour of the World.'" His toleration of other forms of religious belief was in no way half-hearted and imbued the Society of Friends with feelings of kindness towards Catholics, or at least accentuated those feelings in them. During the time of Lieutenant Governor Gordon a Catholic chapel was erected, which was thought to be contrary to the laws of Parliament, but it was not suppressed pending a decision of the British Government upon the question whether immunity granted by the Pennsylvania law did not protect Catholics. When, during the French War, hostility to France led to an attack upon the Catholics of Philadelphia by a mob after Braddock's defeat, the Quakers protected them.
Penn returned to England in a short time, but made another visit to Pennsylvania in 1699. He returned to England again in 1701, but before his departure a new constitution for the colony was adopted, containing more liberal provisions. This constitution endured until 1776, when a new one was adopted which has since been superseded by three others the Constitutions of 1790, 1838, and 1873. In 1718 the white population of the colony was estimated at 40,000, of which one-half belonged to the Society of Friends and one-fourth resided in Philadelphia. In 1703 the counties composing the State of Delaware were separated from Pennsylvania. It was not until after the colonial period that the present boundaries of Pennsylvania were settled. Claims were made for portions of the present area of the state on the north, west, and south. Under the charter granted to Connecticut by Charles II, in 1662, the dominion of that colony was extended westward to the South Sea or Pacific Ocean. Although the territory of New York intervened between Connecticut and the present border of Pennsylvania, claim was made by Connecticut to territory now included in Pennsylvania between the fortieth and forty-first parallels of north latitude, and in 1769 a Connecticut company founded a settlement in the valley of Wyoming, and until 1782 the claim of sovereignty was maintained. It was finally settled against Connecticut in favour of Pennsylvania by a commission appointed by mutual agreement of the two states after trial and argument. The controversy between Maryland and Pennsylvania was finally settled in 1774. Lord Baltimore, the founder of Maryland, claimed that the boundaries of his grant extended above the present position of Philadelphia. On the other hand, Penn's contention, if allowed, would have extended the southern limit of Pennsylvania to a point that would have far overlapped the present boundary of Maryland. A litigation in Chancery eventually resulted in a settlement of the boundaries as they now exist. Previous to this final settlement, in the year 1763, Mason and Dixon, two English astronomers, surveyed the western boundary of Delaware and subsequently carried a line westward for the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland, setting up a mile-stone at every fifth mile with the arms of the Penn family on the north and Baltimore on the south, intermediate miles being marked with stones having P on one side and M on the other. This line was carried beyond the western extremity of Maryland, and thus it passed into history as marking the line between the northern and southern sections of the whole United States. The difficulty with the western boundary of the state on the Virginia border was settled in 1779 by a commission appointed by the two states. That portion which borders upon Lake Erie, known as the Erie triangle, belonged to New York and Massachusetts. By them it was ceded to the United States, and in 1792 bought from them by Pennsylvania for $151,640. The effect of the settlement of these boundaries was very far-reaching, for if the Connecticut, Maryland, and Virginia claims had been decided adversely to Pennsylvania, there would have been left but a narrow strip of land westward of Philadelphia and eastward of Pittsburg.
Pennsylvania was the scene of some of the most interesting and important events of the French and Indian War during the colonial period, notably the defeat of Braddock at the ford of the Monongahela about seven miles from Fort Duquesne, now the site of Pittsburg. It suffered much from Indian depredations on the western borders. During the early colonial period the mild dealings of the Quakers who controlled the province saved Pennsylvania from many of the ills that befell other colonies from the attacks of the aborigines. Prior to the French and Indian War, the Indians, who had been treated with careful consideration by Penn, were outraged at the unfairness and trickery practiced by one of his successors in obtaining title to land extending, on the eastern border of the state, to the region of the Delaware Water Gap, and known as "The Walking Purchase". This, added to the harsh treatment of the frontier settlers, who were for the most part North-of-Ireland immigrants (locally known as Scotch-Irish), resulted in bloody and persistent Indian wars which spread terror throughout the colony and were ended only after several campaigns. The defeat of the Indians by Bouquet and Forbes, and the destruction of the French stronghold, Fort Duquesne, broke the power of the Indians, and the colony was not troubled with them again until the Revolutionary War, when their alliance with the British resulted in the massacre of Wyoming.
When the contest with Great Britain arose, Philadelphia, the chief city of the American Colonies, was chosen as the place for assembling the first Continental Congress. There the Declaration of Independence was drafted and promulgated, and after the Revolution the Government of the United States was seated there until the year 1800, when Washington was made the capital. Philadelphia remained the capital of the state under the Constitution of 1776 until 1812, when it was replaced by Harrisburg. The Convention which drafted the Constitution of the United States assembled at Philadelphia in May 1787, and presented the draft to Congress on 17 September. On the following day it was submitted to the Assembly of the State of Pennsylvania, by which body the Constitution was ratified on 12 December of the same year, Pennsylvania being the second to approve it. Again, Pennsylvania was the first state to respond to the appeal of President Lincoln for troops at the outbreak of the Civil War. Regiments were sent by Governor Curtin to the garrison at Washington and were largely effective in preventing that city from being captured by the Confederate forces after the first battle of Bull Run. In 1863 General Lee invaded the state, coming from the South by way of the Shenandoah Valley, and was signally defeated in a three days' battle on the 1st, 2d, and 3rd of July at Gettysburg by the Union army under General George G. Meade. This battle has been recognized as the most important in the Civil War, as the success of the Confederate forces would have imperilled Philadelphia and New York and might have led to the final triumph of the Confederacy.
It has been said of Pennsylvania that no other American colony had "such a mixture of languages, nationalities and religions. Dutch, Swedes, English, Germans, Scotch-Irish and Welsh; Quakers, Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Lutherans, Reformed, Mennonites, Tunkers and Moravians all had a share in creating it" (Fisher). The eastern part of the state, especially the counties immediately adjoining Philadelphia, was settled by a homogeneous population principally of English descent, though there was a large German community near Philadelphia at Germantown. Westward, the County of Lancaster was largely settled by Germans, who brought with them a special knowledge of, and aptitude for, agriculture, with the result that a naturally rich county became one of the most productive in the United States especially of tobacco and cereals. There is also a large German population in Berks County, where a dialect of the German language is very generally spoken. The first German settlements were made by the Tunkers, now known as Dunkers, or Dunkards, between 1720 and 1729. They were followed by the Schwenkfelders, from the Rhine Valley, Alsatia, Suabia, Saxony, and the Palatinate. Members of the Lutheran Reformed Congregations came between 1730 and 1740. The Moravians settled Bethlehem in 1739, and the so-called Scotch-Irish immigrants from the North of Ireland, settled in Lehigh, Bucks, and Lancaster Counties, and in the Cumberland Valley, between 1700 and 1750. The Welsh came to Pennsylvania previous to 1682, and were the most numerous class of immigrants up to that date. They were assigned a tract of land west of the Schuylkill River, known as "the Welsh Tract", where to this day their geographical names remain.
In 1906 the population of Pennsylvania was the second in size among the states of the Union, being estimated at 6,928,515. Of these 2,977,022 (or 43 percent) were church members: 1,717,037 Protestants, and 1,214,734 Catholics. The latest census of Catholics (1910) for the entire state shows 1,494,766, of whom 38,235 were coloured. The Protestant denominations in 1906 were divided as follows: Methodists, 363,443; Lutherans, 335,643; Presbyterians, 322,542; Reformed, 181,350; Baptists, 141,694; Episcopalians, 99,021; United Brethren, 55,571; all others, 217,773. The first Protestant Episcopal church (Christ Church) was built in Philadelphia in 1695. Pennsylvania is the second state in the Union in the number of church members and first in the number of church organizations. The value of church property is $173,605,141, being 13 percent of all the property in the state. Of the entire population in 1906, 57 percent professed no religion as against 67.2 percent in 1900. The largest immigration from Ireland to the United States, following the famine of 1847-49, added greatly to the Catholic population of Pennsylvania, which has shown a steady increase. Of recent years missions have been established for the special benefit of the coloured people of Philadelphia, where two churches are now especially devoted to these missions.
The United States Census of 1910 gives the population of Pennsylvania as 7,665,111 (a little more than 181.57 to the square mile). Of this number 1,549,008 belonged to Philadelphia and 533,905 to Pittsburg. Thus Philadelphia had maintained its position as the third city of the United States in population, while Pittsburg (with the accession of Allegheny, incorporated with it since the Census of 1900) stood eighth. The Census of 1910 shows an increase of more than 21.62 percent in the population of the state during the first decade of the twentieth century. The Census report of the foreign-born white and of the coloured population for 1910 (respectively 982,543 and 156,845 in 1900) had not become accessible when this article was prepared. The German and Irish elements exceed by far all other nationalities among the foreign born. In 1910 the largest cities in the state, after Philadelphia and Pittsburg, were Harrisburg, the capital (pop. 64,186), Scranton (129,867), Reading (96,071), Wilkes-Barre (67,105), and Johnstown (55,482). Pennsylvania is entitled to thirty-two representatives in the Congress of the United States and thirty-four votes in the Presidential Electoral College. With the exception of a few cities, the distribution of the population is less dense than in most of the Eastern States. A comparatively small proportion of the population is engaged in agriculture, mining and manufacturing being the principal industries.
Until 1880 Pennsylvania was pre-eminent as the lumber state, but its activity in this industry has since been far exceeded in the Southern and North-Western States. In 1900 about 2,313,267 million feet of lumber were cut in Pennsylvania about one-half of the output of the State of Michigan. In the last ten years the output has decreased. The estimated product for the year 1907 amounted to $31,251,817, at the rate of $18.02 per million feet. Efforts towards conservation and systematic forestry have of late years received considerable impetus. The state is extremely rich in coal, petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, slate, and limestones. Anthracite coal was discovered in Pennsylvania as early as 1768, and the first regular shipments were made in 1820. The anthracite coal fields in the eastern portions of the state are about 500 square miles in area, while the bituminous coal and petroleum fields of the western and north-central sections cover about 9000 square miles. The United States Conservation Commission estimated, in 1910, that there were 117,593,000,000 tons of coal in Pennsylvania. The total output of bituminous coal in 1907 for the Pennsylvanian mines was 149,759,089 American tons (of 2000 lbs. each); of anthracite, 86,279,719 Am. tons; so that the state contributed in that year very nearly 50 percent of the whole output of coal of the United States. In the following year (1908), owing to the general depression in industries, Pennsylvania produced only 118,313,525 tons of bituminous coal. The first oil well in Pennsylvania was discovered in 1860, and in the next following thirty years the state produced 1,006,000,000 barrels of petroleum. The state stands first in the production of coke, the output being normally more than half that of all the United States. The output of pig iron for 1908 was 6,973,621 gross tons, or 43.8 percent of the entire product of the United States, valued at $110,987,346 (about £22,197,468). The first Bessemer steel rails were rolled at Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1867. The annual product of iron and steel manufactures is over $200,000,000; they employ 54,000 persons, whose earnings amount to $34,000,000. Pennsylvania also stands first in the production of slate and limestone, contributing two-thirds of the whole output of slate of the United States. It ranks third in the production of sandstone. The total value of its output of quarried stone in 1908 was $4,000,000.
As a manufacturing state, Pennsylvania stands second in the United States. In 1904 it had an invested capital of $1,990,836,988 in manufactures, employing 763,282 wage earners receiving $367,960,890 per annum and producing $1,955,551,332 in value of finished goods, including, besides iron and steel, textiles of various kinds, knitted goods, felt, etc. In 1908 there were 3848 industrial establishments with a total capital of $1,126,406,558, employing 756,600 wage earners, of whom 126,000 were women. This state leads among the Middle States in cotton and exceeds all of the United States in woollen manufactures. The first company to spin yarn by machinery was founded at Philadelphia in 1775. A sale of prints and linens took place in 1789. In 1850 Philadelphia was the leading city of the world in the number of its textile works. In 1899 there were 813 cotton and woollen factories, producing a value of $116,850,782. In 1907, 157 silk plants produced a value of $52,780,830. The agricultural wealth of the state is also considerable, although only 28 percent of its land is under cultivation. The leading crops are hay, corn, oats, wheat, potatoes, and tobacco, aggregating for the year 1908 a value of $166,173,000. The value of farm animals in 1908 was $145,803,000. The dairy industry in that year, aside from the milk product, was valued at $41,250,000, while tobacco amounted to $3,948,134.
In 1827 the first railroad in the state, nine miles in length, was opened between Mauch Chunk and Summit Hill. In 1842 the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad penetrated the coal regions, and in 1854 the Pennsylvania Railroad between Pittsburg and Philadelphia was opened for traffic. Pennsylvania has 22.96 miles of track for every hundred miles of area. The total assessment of steam railroads operating any portions of their lines within the state is $4,686,281,066 one-third of the assets of all the railroads of the United States. The total earnings for the year ending 13 November, 1908, of the railroads of Pennsylvania subject to taxation were $824,213,593. During that year there were 262,570,546 passengers carried and 81,454,385,026 mile-tons of freight. The street railways show a total capitalization of $484,545,694.
The common school system of education is universal throughout the Commonwealth in every county, township, borough, and city. Each constitutes a separate school district, and new districts are formed as required under the direction of the Court of Quarter Sessions. School directors are elected annually in each district, two qualified citizens being chosen for a term of three years, there being six directors in all. School directors receive no pay, but are exempt from military duty and from serving in any borough or township office. They must hold at least one meeting in every three months and such other meetings as the circumstances of the district may require. It is their duty to establish a sufficient number of common schools for the education of every individual over the age of six years and under the age of twenty-one in their respective districts. They appoint all teachers, fix their salaries, and dismiss them for cause; direct what branches of learning are to be taught in each school, and what books to be used; suspend or expel pupils for cause. They report to the county superintendent, setting forth the number and situation of the schools in their districts, the character of the teachers, amount of taxes, etc. Where land cannot be obtained for schools by agreement of the parties, school directors may enter and occupy such land as they deem fit not exceeding one acre. Free evening schools must be kept open on the application of twenty or more pupils or their parents, for the teaching of orthography, reading, writing, arithmetic, and other branches to pupils who are unable to attend the day schools, for a term of not less than four months in each year. Twenty days' actual teaching constitutes one school month. Schools are closed on Saturdays and legal holidays. High schools may be established in districts having a population of over 5000.
In Penn's charter it was provided that the Government and councils should erect and order all public schools, and before Penn there had been a school taught by Swedes. In 1706 land to the extent of 60,000 acres was set aside for the support of schools. The Constitution of 1790 required the Legislature to provide by law for the establishment of schools throughout the state in such manner that the poor might be taught gratis. The University of Pennsylvania dates from the year 1740. The report of the superintendent of education for the year 1908 shows the number of schools to have been 33,171, taught by 7488 male and 26,525 female teachers, the number of pupils amounting to 1,231,200 and in daily attendance 951,670. The total expenditure for school purposes for that year was more than $34,000,000; the estimated value of school property exceeded $90,000,000. There were in that year thirteen normal schools, seven theological seminaries, three medical colleges, one veterinary college, one college of pharmacy, four dental schools, two law schools, thirty-five colleges and universities, employing 1914 instructors, with an attendance of 12,211 male and 3189 female students.
Prior to the Revolution, and for some years after it, Philadelphia was the largest city, and St. Mary's the largest Catholic parish in the United States. A parochial school was established in that parish in 1782. This was an English school. Subsequently German schools were established at Goshenhoppen, Berks County, at Lancaster, Hanover, and other places under the auspices of the German Jesuits. In Western Pennsylvania the first Catholic school was established at Sportsman's Hall, Westmoreland County, some time after 1787, where subsequently the Benedictines built St. Vincent's Abbey and College, the motherhouse of this religious order in the United States. Father Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin established a Catholic colony in Cambria County in 1799 and in 1800 opened a school at Loretto. The first Catholic church at Pittsburg was built in 1811, and in 1828 a community of the Order of St. Clare, coming from Belgium, established a convent and academy. In 1835 the sisters took charge of the dayschools at Pittsburg and opened an academy for more advanced pupils. They opened a school at Harrisburg in 1828; one at McSherrytown in 1830; one at Pottsville in 1836. The Catholic educational system has been gradually developed since that date until now, in all the dioceses of Pennsylvania, there is a carefully graded system of parochial schools, there being in attendance in the various dioceses 225,224 pupils, who are taught by 2896 religious and lay teachers in 443 schools, irrespective of those who are instructed in the various orphan asylums and charitable institutions of the different dioceses. The course of instruction is graded in the Diocese of Philadelphia, covering Christian doctrine, English, penmanship, arithmetic, algebra, geography, history, civil government, vocal music (including Gregorian), drawing, elementary science. Institutions for higher education are, with a few exceptions, in the hands of the teaching orders and are not an integral part of the parochial school system. The cost of maintenance of the Catholic educational system is defrayed by voluntary contributions.
The State of Pennsylvania historically coincides with the ecclesiastical Province of Philadelphia, composed of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the five suffragan Dioceses of Pittsburg, Erie, Harrisburg, Scranton, and Altoona. (See the special articles on these dioceses respectively.) The Catholic population in Pennsylvania owes its existence mainly to early immigration from Ireland and Germany, though of recent years many Poles, Hungarians, and Italians have swelled its numbers. The first Catholic resident of Philadelphia, a German, came with Daniel Pastorius, the founder of Germantown, in 1683. In 1685 J. Gray, of London, having obtained a grant of land, settled in Pennsylvania, where he changed his name to John Tatham. In 1690 he was appointed Governor of West Jersey, but was unable to take oath of allegiance to William and Mary. He seems to have been a friend of William Penn. The first priest who can be accurately traced in Pennsylvania was the Reverend John Pierron, of Canada, who in 1673-74 made a tour through Maryland, Virginia, and New England.
The orderly history of the Church in Pennsylvania begins in 1720, when the Rev. Joseph Wheaton, S.J., formed the first parish. The first church, St. Joseph's, was begun in 1733. Its congregation consisted of 22 Irish and 15 Germans, and in 1787 its membership had increased to about 3000. In 1727 there came to Philadelphia 1155 Irish besides their servants. Later in the same year 5600 arrived, and 5655 in 1729. This migration resulted from the unjust laws which were then afflicting the Catholics and Dissenters in Ireland. The same laws drove from the North of Ireland, between 1700 and 1750, some 200,000 Presbyterians, most of whom came to America, and largely to Pennsylvania. In 1771, when Richard Penn succeeded John Penn, in the government of Pennsylvania, the Catholics of Philadelphia, through their rector, the Rev. Robert Harding, presented their congratulations, which were most cordially received. When the Revolution broke out, the comparatively small body of Catholic inhabitants furnished a number of men who attained distinction in the military, naval, or political service, among them being Commodore John Barry, Thomas Fitzsimmons, Stephen Moylan, and George Meade. In 1780, on the occasion of the Requiem Mass for Don Juan de Miralles, the Spanish agent in Philadelphia, Congress assisted in a body together with several general officers and distinguished citizens. After the surrender at Yorktown a Mass of thanksgiving was celebrated in St. Mary's Church, a chaplain of the French Ambassador preaching the sermon.
Prior to the Revolution, as early as 1768, the German Catholics of Philadelphia had obtained property upon which subsequently was erected Holy Trinity Church, which was afterwards incorporated and, in 1789, dedicated. St. Mary's Church, from which Holy Trinity was an offshoot, was dedicated in 1788. The clergy of the United States was reinforced by a body of French priests who arrived at Philadelphia in 1792 and were distributed among various American churches. In 1793 a large number of fugitives came from the French Islands of the West Indies, and it was supposed that an epidemic of yellow fever which broke out soon after was brought by them. All the ministers of the various denominations zealously attended the sick, and many fell victims, including two of the Catholic clergy.
In 1788 Very Rev. John Carroll was elected Bishop of Baltimore with jurisdiction over all the American churches, including Philadelphia. He was consecrated on the 15th of August, 1790, at Lullworth, Dorchester, England.
In 1808 the Diocese of Philadelphia was separated from that of Baltimore (then ruled by Bishop John Carroll), the Dioceses of New York, Boston, and Bardstown being created at the same time. Michael Egan became the first Bishop of Philadelphia, the diocese included the entire State of Pennsylvania and the western and southern parts of New Jersey. In 1843 the Diocese of Pittsburg was established, and took away from Philadelphia a number of the western counties of the state. In 1853 the Diocese of Erie was erected out of the Diocese of Pittsburg, and in the same year the jurisdiction of Philadelphia over a part of New Jersey was transferred to the Diocese of Newark. In 1868 the two Dioceses of Scranton and Harrisburg were created, Philadelphia being left with Carbon, Chester, Delaware, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, and Schuylkill. In 1901 the Diocese of Altoona was constituted out of the Harrisburg territory together with part of that of Pittsburg. In 1875 Philadelphia was made a metropolitan see, Bishop Wood being appointed Archbishop. The first Provincial Council was held on 23 May, 1880.
By the Constitution of Pennsylvania (Art. I., Sec. 3) it is declared that "All men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their own consciences; no man can of right be compelled to attend, erect or support any place of worship, or to maintain any ministry against his consent; no human authority can, in any case whatever, control or interfere with the rights of conscience, and no preference shall ever be given by law to any religious establishments or modes of worship". It has been held, however, that Christianity is a part of the common law of Pennsylvania; not Christianity founded on any particular tenets, but Christianity with liberty of conscience to all men (11 S. & R., 394; 26 Pa., 342; 2 How., 199). This liberty does not include the right to carry out every scheme claimed to be part of a religious system. Thus, a Municipal Ordinance forbidding the use of drums by a religious body in the streets of a city is valid (11 Pa., 335). The constitution further provides that "no person who acknowledges the being of a God and a future state of rewards and punishments shall, on account of his religious sentiments, be disqualified to hold any office or place of trust or profit under this commonwealth" (Sec. 4). Therefore, the exclusion of a Sister of Charity from employment as a teacher in the public schools, because she is a Roman Catholic, would be unlawful (164 Pa., 629); now, however, she cannot teach while wearing her religious garb. An Act of Assembly prohibiting the transaction of worldly business on Sunday does not encroach upon the liberty of conscience. It is therefore constitutional. Until a recent Act of Assembly, witnesses in Court were required to believe in a Supreme Being, although their religious opinions were not such as are generally accepted by orthodox Christians. Now, however, it is not necessary that witnesses should have any belief in the existence of a God, their credibility being a question for the jury.
By an Act of Assembly blasphemy and profanity in the use of the names of the Almighty, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, or the Scriptures of Truth, are criminal offences. This is a re-enactment of a provincial law as old as 1700. The sessions of the Legislature are opened with prayer. Christmas Day and Good Friday are among the legal holidays. Five or more persons may form a church corporation for the support of public worship. All churches, meeting houses, or other regular places of stated worship, with the grounds thereto annexed necessary for the occupancy and enjoyment of the same, all burial grounds not used or held for private or corporate profit, together with certain other specified kinds of property devoted to education and benevolence, are exempted from taxation of all sorts. Marriage cannot be solemnized without a licence. Under the Act of 1700, all marriages not forbidden by the law of God are encouraged; but the parents or guardians shall, if conveniently they can, be first consulted, and the parties' freedom from all engagements established. Under the Act of 24 June, 1901 (P.L. 579, Sec. 1), the marriage of first cousins is prohibited, and such marriages are void. The subsequent marriage of parents legitimizes their children under the Act of 14 May, 1857. (P.L., 507, Sec. 1.) Since the Act of 11 April, 1848, all property belonging to women before marriage or accruing to them afterwards shall continue as their separate property after marriage. But a woman may not become accommodation, indorser, maker, guarantor, or surety for another, nor may she execute or acknowledge a deed or writing, etc., of her real estate unless her husband joins in such mortgage or conveyance (Act of 8 June, 1893). The separate earnings of a married woman are under her separate control and not liable for the debts or obligations of her husband. Under certain circumstances, a married woman may bring a suit without the intervention of a trustee, but husband and wife cannot sue one another. A married woman may loan money to, and take security from, her husband. A husband is not liable for the wife's debts incurred before her marriage. Absolute divorces may be granted for impotence, bigamy, adultery, cruelty, desertion, force, fraud, or coercion, and for conviction of forgery or infamous crime. The plaintiff must reside within the state for at least one whole year previous to the filing of the petition. A person divorced for adultery cannot marry the paramour during the life of the former husband or wife. Divorces from bed and board are allowed for practically the same causes as absolute divorces. Marriages may be annulled for the usual causes, but proceedings must be taken under the Divorce Acts.
A Board of Public Charities, consisting of five commissioners, is appointed by the governor with the duty of visiting all charitable and correctional institutions at least once a year, examining the returns of the several cities, counties, wards, boroughs, and townships in relation to the support of paupers and in relation to births, deaths, and marriages, and make an annual report as to the causes and best treatment of pauperism, crime, disease, and insanity, together with all desirable information concerning the industrial and material interests of the commonwealth bearing upon these subjects. They have the power of examining the various charitable, reformatory, and correctional institutions, including the city and county jails, prisons, and almshouses, and are required to submit an annual report to the Legislature. Institutions seeking state aid are expected to give notice to the Board, which is to inquire carefully into the grounds for the request and report its conclusions to the Legislature. Before any county prison or almshouse shall be erected the plans must be submitted to the Board.
Prisoners confined in any prison, reformatory, or other institution have the privilege of practising the religion of their choice, and are at liberty to procure the services of any minister connected with any religious denomination in the state, providing such service shall be personal and not interfere with the established order of the religious service in the institution. Established services shall not be of a sectarian character. By an Act of Assembly passed in 1903, the active or visiting committee of any society, existing for the purpose of visiting and instructing prisoners, are constituted official visitors of jails and penitentiaries, and are permitted under reasonable rules and regulations to make visits accordingly.
Intoxicating liquors cannot lawfully be sold in Pennsylvania except under a licence granted by the Court of Quarter Sessions. The sale of liquor on Sunday is forbidden. It is a misdemeanor for any person engaged in the sale or manufacture of intoxicating liquors to employ an intemperate person to assist in such manufacture or sale, or by gift or sale to furnish liquor to anyone known to be of intemperate habits, or to minors, or insane persons. Disregard of a notice not to furnish liquor to intemperate persons issued by a relative renders the party so selling liable for damages. Any judge, justice, or clergyman who shall perform the marriage ceremony between parties when either is intoxicated shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Every person of sound mind who has attained the age of twenty-one years may dispose of his or her real and personal property by will. This includes married women, reserving to the husband his right as tenant by the courtesy and his right to take against the will, and the wife her right to take against the will. Wills must be in writing and signed at the end either by the testator himself or, in case he is prevented by the extremity of his last illness, by some person in his presence and by his express direction; and in all cases shall be proved by oaths or affirmations of two or more competent witnesses, who need not be attesting witnesses except in the case where the will makes a charitable devise or bequest. In the case of the extremity of the testator's last illness, he may make an oral or nuncupative will for the disposition of his personal property, such will to be made during the last illness in the house of his habitation, or where he has resided for the space of ten days before making his will, or any location where he has been surprised by sickness and dies before returning to his own house. No estate, real or personal, can be bequeathed, devised, or conveyed to any person in trust for any religious or charitable use, except by deed or will, attested by two credible, disinterested witnesses, at least one calendar month before the decease of the testator or alienor. No literary, religious, charitable, or beneficial society, congregation, or corporation may hold real and personal estate to a greater yearly value than $30,000 without express legislative sanction, or on decree of court in special circumstances.
Annual Report Secretary of Internal Affairs (Pa.), pts. III, IV; Report of Superintendent of Public Instruction (Pa.) (1908); Crop Report Secretary of Agriculture (Pa.) (1909); Pennsylvania Archives; Hazard, Annals of Pa. (Philadelphia, 1850); Idem, Register of Pennsylvania 1828-36; Colonial Records (1790); Proud, History of Pennsylvania (1797); Barr Ferree, Pennsylvania, a Primer (1904); Franklin, Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania (1759); Jenkins, Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, 1903); Fisher, Pennsylvania, Colony and Commonwealth (1897); Idem, Pennsylvania, Province and State (1899); Idem, The Making of Pennsylvania (1896); Kirlin, Catholicity in Philadelphia (1910); Burns, The Catholic School System in the United States (1908); The Catholic Directory (1910); Wickersham, History of Education in Pennsylvania (1886); Griffin, Catholics in the American Revolution; Bouvier, Law Dictionary (1897); Brightly-Purdon, Digest (1905); Du Bois, The Philadelphia Negro (Philadelphia, 1899); Janney, Life of William Penn (1852); Fisher, The True William Penn; Faust, The German Element in the United States (1909); Jacobs, Guarantees of Liberty in Pennsylvania (1907).
APA citation. (1911). Pennsylvania. In The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11638c.htm
MLA citation. "Pennsylvania." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 11. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11638c.htm>.
Transcription. This article was transcribed for New Advent by the Peasley Family.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. February 1, 1911. Remy Lafort, S.T.D., Censor. Imprimatur. +John Cardinal Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Contact information. The editor of New Advent is Kevin Knight. My email address is webmaster at newadvent.org. Regrettably, I can't reply to every letter, but I greatly appreciate your feedback — especially notifications about typographical errors and inappropriate ads.